Top 8 Ways Marketers Can Connect With HR Advocates

Vertical_eBook_HR-2-1It takes a certain kind of person to become a human resources professional.

They’re typically highly dedicated, sociable and extraverted, and have a higher degree of empathy than the average person.

We can be thankful for that, since these are all skills necessary for the tough jobs they do every day. But it also means that you need to take a unique approach to successfully reach them.

In the second post in our multi-part series on how to engage professionals in different industries, we’re breaking down what makes HR pros tick.

Who is the HR professional?

ENFJ: The well-known psychological assessment questionnaire, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, places HR pros in the ENFJ category – that means they rank high in Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Judging.

People person: Personnel Decisions International in Minneapolis found in an assessment that HR pros score significantly higher than other executive groups in self-awareness, optimism, and sociability. They truly are the epitome of the ‘people person.’

Dedicated: An study entitled Personal Traits and Career Satisfaction of Human Resource Professionals says HR pros tend to work long hours, put in overtime, and invest high levels of time and energy into their jobs.

Margaux Novak“HR advocates make time for things that will improve the quality of life for their employees,” says Margaux Novak, Marketing Communications Manager at Virgin Pulse. “They are a truly caring group of individuals who want what’s best for their workforce.”

The Top 8 ways to connect with HR professionals

HR pros are busy people. All. The. Time. You want their attention? You’ll have to get in line and fight for it! But there are ways you can best reach them with your advocate marketing program.

1. Contact them often: Up the frequency with which you remind them about your advocate marketing program to help build habits around it. Personalized challenge notifications may be more effective for this group.

2. Limited time only: Introduce challenges that are quick and last for a limited time, so they can squeeze them in during the little downtime they have – no putting it off until tomorrow. A lunch break challenge for earning 100 points in a minute, for example, might resonate well with this group.

3. Follow the rules of rewards: When you’re the persona who’s written the book, chances are you’ll be the most likely to play strictly by it. So be aware of any company-wide restrictions against monetary-based rewards and work around that. Mentorship sessions, conference passes, and professional development courses may attract more participation than gift cards.

carlos“Our customers don’t help us out for points or prizes. The benefits they find most gratifying involve professional development, personal recognition, and access to peers who will help them do a better job every day,” says Carlos Gonzalez, Director of Customer Success at Ceridian.

4. Pick up the phone: HR pros get tons of e-mail – it’ll be tough for yours to get noticed among far more pressing issues. Make yourself stand out by going a different route, like a good ol’ phone call, or even a mailed invite that’s paired with a small gift or perk.

5. Teach them: Because of the constantly changing nature of the HR role, HR pros are always looking to boost their knowledge. Position your hub as a central place of knowledge sharing, industry best practices, high-quality content, and useful resources that will help your advocates become better at what they do.

6. Make them a star: Stress the opportunity for your advocates to position themselves as thought leaders in the space. Remember, these guys are extraverts, so shine that spotlight on them!

7. It’s all about connections: Emphasize the role of your advocacy program as a platform to boost your advocates’ professional network, helping them connect with others in the program, and in turn, helping their connections benefit, too.

8. Have some fun: Dealing with serious matters like layoffs, personal improvement plans, and organizational restructuring, is enough to have anyone seek out a motivational cat poster. Short of sending one over to brighten their day, you could provide a little pick-me-up in the form of a fun and playful challenge, and a cool perk.

jenn steele“It’s tempting to be very prim and proper when you’re working with HR pros, but it turns out that they fantastic senses of humor,” says Jenn Steele, Vice President, Client Services at ROIworks. “You don’t want to do anything that might get them in trouble, but being boring would be a HUGE mistake!”

Bottom line

Getting yourself noticed by busy HR pros is your key challenge, and you can overcome that by approaching them in the right ways; respecting their schedules; and stressing how you can help in the areas that matter most to them. Oh, and let’s not forget adding a little cheer to their non-stop days of dealing with serious matters.

New eBook series: Engaging Your Advocates

covers-hr_it_verticals_ebooks-2This new eBook series, which will be released throughout early 2015, explores the art and science behind engaging advocate marketing programs, including:

  • Insight into the advocate persona (e.g., IT, HR, sales, etc.)
  • Key challenges and how to address them
  • How to position your asks effectively
  • Sample challenges from real advocate marketing programs
  • Tips from marketers who have experience working with this persona

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